Surabaya, East Java (ANTARA) - The voices of Islamic boarding school students, or santris, in the 2024 General Elections would determine the direction of the Indonesian nation for the next five years, Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas stated.

"Hence, the presidential elections, scheduled on February 14 of 2024, should be optimized by all santris to exercise their voting rights. Santris should be involved in every episode of the history of this country, including by voting," he remarked in Surabaya, East Java, on Saturday.

Minister Qoumas noted that all santris are entitled to the right to vote for their own preferred electoral candidates. However, he reminded santris to exercise their voting rights in the upcoming festival of democracy in a smart and wise manner.

The minister encouraged santris to initially check on both the backgrounds and experiences of the figures they are going to vote for.

"I would like to repeat that I hope santris will not vote for candidates merely based on their physical appearances. It is necessary to vote for those who are ready to lead this country because we will face tough challenges in the future," he emphasized.

The General Elections Commission (KPU) has opened the registrations of prospective presidential and vice presidential candidates for the 2024 General Elections. The registration period is valid on October 19-25.

According to Law Number 7 of 2017 on General Elections, a presidential candidate can be nominated by a political party or a coalition that won at least 20 percent of the House of Representatives (DPR) seats or 25 percent of the national valid votes in the previous DPR election.

The parliament currently has 575 seats. Thus, presidential and vice presidential candidates will need to get the support of at least 115 seats in the DPR. Candidates can also be nominated by a political party or coalition that contested the 2019 election and garnered at least 34,992,703 valid votes.

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Translator: Abdul H/Ananato P, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Sri Haryati
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